Kenyans transacted a record 450.9 billion shillings (4.18 billion U.S. dollars) on mobile phone in July, with the usage boosted by increased uptake of the service due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data released Tuesday shows that usage rose from 3.6 billion dollars in June to 4.18 billion dollars in July, the biggest jump ever.
The huge surge is attributed to a government measure instituted to curb COVID-19 spread by encouraging the use of mobile money payments.
This saw mobile money service providers remove charges on transactions that are less than 9.3 dollars to cushion low-income consumers.
Transaction fees on payment of bills and transferring cash to bank accounts were also eliminated to discourage the use of banknotes, giving a huge boost to mobile money transactions amid the pandemic.
The number of mobile money subscribers during the month surged to 62 million as monthly transactions clocked 158 million, according to the CBK.
The number of mobile money agents, however, declined to stand at 234,747 from a high of 243,118 in April, an indication of the effects of the pandemic on the sector.
“Mobile money has been instrumental in driving business during the pandemic, it is thus not surprising that usage has risen considerably and would certainly continue to rise,” said Bernard Mwaso of Edell IT Solution, a software development start-up in Nairobi.